For better cancer treatment outcomes, the advanced proton therapy will soon be a reality at public sector hospitals. The installation of three gantries for this technology has been completed at the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) at Kharghar, and its clinical commission is underway.
ACTREC is the R&D wing of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), which is awaiting necessary approval from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Proton therapy is a type of external beam radiation that uses protons rather than x-rays to painlessly kill cancer cells by penetrating through the skin. Positively charged protons can destroy cancer cells more efficiently at high energy.
As TMC works under the DAE, the cost of treatment will be subsidised, even free of cost for poor patients, and children will get priority in treatment. The cost of this treatment in the US ranges between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.5 crore.
TMC (Parel) director Dr Rajendra Badwe called it a “significant accomplishment and a major milestone in serving needy patients”. He said that once the project starts full steam, around 800 to 1,000 patients can be treated every year, and it will be free of cost for half of them. ACTREC director, Dr Sudeep Gupta, said this is the first project in the public sector and the only one with three full gantries with pencil beam solutions for better results.
Dr Siddhartha Laskar, deputy director of TMC (Academics), who is also overseeing the project, and Olivier Legrain, the CEO of Ion Beam Application, a Belgium-based medical technology company and world leader in proton therapy technology, visited the ready facility on August 15.
Legrain said that the Ion Beam Application is delighted to have completed the project in record time and working with TMC provided them a great opportunity to serve Indians through their domain expertise.
Rs 500 crore
Potential to treat
800 to 1000 patients every year
Types of cancer treated
Prostate, spine, brain, liver, breast, head, and neck, besides recurring tumours
How it works
Proton therapy systems are a few storeys tall
Machine not visible to patient
Heart of the ensemble is the particle accelerator, cyclotron
Proton beam passed through a transport line of a hundred metres to various treatment rooms
Treatment rooms are part of a gantry (which houses the proton system)
Gantry allows the beam to spin 360 degrees around the patient